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Council Passes Councilmember Mosqueda’s Expanded Sick and Safe Time Policy to Address Coronavirus Emergency

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) and her Council colleagues passed legislation on Monday that expands Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time policy to cover school, day care and adult day care closures, a policy that addresses working families who need to take time off work due to impacts from the coronavirus.

Previously, Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe time policy allowed employees to use paid safe time when their child’s school or place of care is closed by order of a public official.

Council Bill 119754 allows employees to use their paid sick and safe time to care for any family member (defined in the bill as “a child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling”) when the family member’s school or place of care is closed, and would not require the closures to be ordered by a public official. For example, daycares may opt to close for several days in order to sanitize the facility and out of an abundance of caution. Additionally, the policy expansion allows employees to use sick and safe time when an employer has reduced operations or closed for any health- or safety-related reason. 

“School and daycare closures place a logistical and financial burden on working families. Nobody should have to choose between caring for their family members or keeping their jobs and earning a paycheck because they’re unable to use their earned safe and sick time to take time off,” Mosqueda said. “This emergency legislation addresses an immediate crisis families across Seattle are experiencing by removing barriers and expanding our city’s existing policy to cover different scenarios, including when businesses close or reduce operations due to public safety reasons.”

This policy is effective immediately. The Office of Labor Standards is working on enforcement and guidance. The legislation would not increase the amount of paid safe time available to employees. Employees are able to use their existing leave, meaning existing earned Paid Sick and Safe Time for a wider range of purposes.

For more information on existing Paid Sick and Safe Time policies, visit the Office of Labor Standards’s website and read their FAQ on commonly asked questions about paid sick and safe time and COVID-19. The FAQ is also available in multiple languages here.

For more information on the coronavirus, visit Public Health – Seattle & King County’s website

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